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Girl’s Best Friend: Stacey Irwin-Burns and Her Dog Rapid

Nicola Withers
April 28, 2020

Meet Stacey Irwin-Burns and her agility dog Rapid. Stacey is part of the wonderful Benyfit Natural doggy community and we are super proud to sponsor her and her dogs. When we are all not self-distancing from each other during the Covid-19 pandemic, Stacey and her brother compete internationally with some of their nine dogs.

That’s putting the nine into canine!

Stacey owns and runs Stacey’s K9 Services, a dog agility training business. She trains dogs of all abilities and level of competition and her mum works with her, training pet dogs and those thinking about competing.

Dogs are a way of life for Stacey Irwin-Burns – with her parents, grandparents and brother, Stacey owns and competes with nine dogs at national and international level. All of the dogs are fed on Benyfit Natural raw dog food. As soon as they started their Benyfit Natural diet, she could see a marked difference in their behaviour and ability – the first competition they entered with Sam (Jack Russell x Cavalier), the 2017 IFCS World Championships, saw him win two gold medals.

Their most recent successes include Sam winning Gold in Jumping at the 2019 IFCS World Championships and becoming the 2019 Games World Champion at the World Agility Open Championships, and Rapid (a Parson Russell Terrier) qualifying for Crufts 2020. You can read more about Stacey and her incredible dogs on our Sponsorship page.

Right now, Stacey and the nine dogs are not living together. She moved to a new house just before the lockdown, shortly after having a baby, and so has only got one dog with her. He is called Rapid, a Parson Russell terrier

The other members of the furball family are with her parents and grandparents having a lovely time with lots of walks and training in their private paddocks. We were lucky enough to have seen Stacey and Rapid at Crufts this year (the photo above is of Stacey and Rapid taking a break from their agility trails in the show arena).

Stacey Irwin-Burns Coronvirus Lockdown Canine Tips

Rapid is a Parson Russell TerrierRapid is a Parson Russell Terrier - a real character who loves to work!

Stacey took some time out to talk to us about her family of woofs and had a quick chat about all things dog, she also gave us some great tips on how to keep all hounds happy and busy during the Coronvirus lockdown.

What do your dogs mean to you?
Everything. I expect everyone says the same, but they really are my best friends. Although I work them and compete with all my dogs, they are pets first and foremost. The fact that we love competing together is a bonus.

Why do you raw feed Benyfit Natural?
Our dogs have always been raw fed  and I used to be sponsored by a different dog food manufacturer. The dogs were performing well but I thought I could get more from them and the only thing I could change was their nutrition. Then I started noticing Benyfit Natural at all the shows and could see the quality of their raw dog food, and I really liked the ethos of the company and the fact it was local to me. So we gradually made the transition to Benyfit Natural. The dogs loved the food and I noticed the difference immediately – Sam’s double gold at the IFCS World Championships was all the proof I needed that it was the right move.

Having a dog during Covid-19 lockdown gives you a reason to go out every day. But what if you have to self-isolate with a dog. Do you have any ideas for doggy activities?

Yes! There are lots of indoor and outdoor activities you can try to keep you both occupied.

  • Nose work - hide treats under random objects in a room, i.e. cardboard boxes, cups, snuffle mats (if you have them), anything that is safe for your dog to move around. Let them into the room and allow them to sniff out and find all the treats. This is a fun activity that engages their senses and brain and should occupy them for a little while.
  • New tricks - now is the perfect time to teach your dog new tricks. Give yourself 1 or 2 tricks a week that you really want to master. These are great to keep your dog’s brain entertained and the activity creates a strong bond between you too.
  • Foundation games for agility - these can be done with no equipment, for example, strengthening hand touches, working on reinforcement zone, brushing up on circle work, practicing basic manoeuvres on the flat (front crosses, rear crosses, pivots etc.)
  • One jump or wing work - there is so much you can do using one jump or just a single wing. Strengthen and create more independence in your handling manoeuvres. If you’re confident they know what each manoeuvre is, why not then see if your dog can do them on the verbal alone!
  • Conditioning and fitness work - now is a perfect time to work on their conditioning and this is something that can be easily done in a small space. If you aren’t sure about what is suitable for your dog, make sure you seek advice from a physio or someone trained in conditioning, as you do not want to injure your dogs by doing activities not suitable to them.

But the most important of all is to play, have fun and generally be silly with your dog! There is so much to gain by sitting on the floor and just playing. In your dog’s eyes you should be the best thing ever. Enjoy this quality time with them.

Why not post your videos of the fun you’re having with your dogs to Facebook page to add a bit of happiness to this very odd time? Woody and the gang at Benyfit Natural would love to see you and your woofs in action!

Stacey Irwin-Burns Coronvirus Lockdown Canine TipsSam Winning YKC Small Agility 2014 (left) - Winning at Olympia 2015 (middle) -  Winning gold medal World Agility 2017 (right)

Nicola WithersBenyfit Natural News Editor
Nicola is the very proud owner of Milo, the Working Cocker Spaniel. Together they traverse the woodlands and forests of Kent, chasing squirrels and rabbits (mainly Milo). Nicola keeps Milo in top working order by feeding him Benyfit Natural and there’s never a scrap left in his bowl.
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